Midwinter Hotel

A decade inside the world in time.

By Henry Freedland

Monday, February 26, 2018

Byodo-in Temple in Winter, by Mori Kansai, c. 1860-70. The Walters Art Museum.

Byodo-in Temple in Winter, by Mori Kansai, c. 1860–70. The Walters Art Museum.

The essay that follows is made up entirely of sentences that appeared in issues from the first ten years of Lapham’s Quarterly, beginning with States of War in the winter of 2008 and ending with Music, the last in our tenth volume. Each issue from that decade is represented, with lines unaltered (excepting some minor changes of capitalization or punctuation) from how they first ran in our pages, and no author appears more than once. During the process of putting it together, Harold Bloom’s 1973 concern about an “anxiety of influence”—the difficulty of overcoming the work of one’s forebears—came to mind. But the piece below attempts to make sense of the world by tacking with a different wind: revisiting LQ’s archive-to-date under a kind of “anxiety as influence.” Beyond this note, no words of my own have been added.—HF


A thing I had long suspected—the world’s absurdity—became obvious to me.1 “You must be kidding,” I said to no one in particular.2 What in God’s name had happened to us all?3 I had lost my innocence about life.4 Things were growing worse.5 Nothing seemed to check the wolves.6 An idea beset me—that I was taking part in an abominable injustice.7 Maybe it was always that way.8 In the meantime it was folly to grieve, or to think.9

And people ask how on earth it happened.10 I ought to go upright and vital, and speak the rude truth in all ways.11 Add up the reckoning.12 For whom would it be a trifling matter to give an account of this?13 With luck, trekking stubborn through this season of fatigue, I shall patch together a content of sorts.14

To begin with, society does not believe in what it says.15 Fools—the cocky ones who presume to instruct those who really do know.16 Who knows what is hidden in their heads.17 Honesty’s praised, but honest men freeze.18 Little thieves are put in the stocks, great thieves go flaunting in gold and silk.19 If the machinery craze grows in our country, it will become an unhappy land.20 If a man has doubts in this immensely pious country, he keeps them to himself.21 All talk of “equality of sacrifice” is nonsense.22 All this self-satisfied servility is repulsive.23 All pretexts are gradually discarded.24 The nuclear bomb, does that bother you?25 Nations today, like mental patients, are behaving maladaptively.26 How vain is the drama we cherished.27 Afterward, all that was faked turned bad and gave an unpleasant feeling.28 And we dare to use the word republic!29 This is not the republic of my imagination.30

This has been the time of the finishing off of the animals.31 We believed for a long time that the buffalo would again come to us; but they did not.32 This was a battle unique, not sharing the features of other, past defeats.33 Man is everywhere a disturbing agent.34 Others have committed abominable ravages.35 I need not remind you of some enterprises that no one but an eyewitness will believe—how private citizens have often leveled mountains and paved seas for their building operations.36 Please realize: the rich grow crueler as their fields increase, and they buy servants and slaves with their wealth.37

And we snatched and grabbed, snatched and grabbed.38 We developed this way, we grew this way, we are this kind of species.39 It is that the custom has become so prevalent that people can no longer see the cruelty in it.40 It is pitiful to make people suffer, to force them to break the law, and then to punish them.41 It’s a subtle and effective way of blaming the victim.42 As a result, the world is in great disorder.43 Perhaps one day people will wonder at this.44

What has happened to me in this new world?45 All this has been risked—for what?46 How did this poison fill the entire world?47 Do all men kill the things they do not love?48 What would you say of that man who was made king by the error of the people, if he had so far forgotten his natural condition as to imagine that this kingdom was due to him, that he deserved it, and that it belonged to him of right?49 “Look,” he says, “this has got to be a management decision.”50 Nothing that he does seems wicked to him who is already tainted with evil.51 They should hide their faces for shame at having produced such a monster.52 “For,” said they, “we take more delight in artificial delusions than in natural truths.”53

How much longer would this madness have to go on before these monsters dropped with exhaustion?54 It is hard to kick against the pricks.55


All right, all right.56 Can’t I have a little outburst?57 Steady my searching mind.58 There is no need to be a prig.59 It would perhaps be possible to say the same things and say them more gently.60 Thoughtful gestures are appreciated.61 Surely we’ve made a mistake somehow, or not understood each other, or have forgotten what the object in question is.62

Who wants the truth?63 Here it is.64 The mountain labored and brought forth a mouse.65 Nobody in the world paid any attention.66 Then all became black, and he felt the mountain beneath him shaking to its roots and heard a crash of thunders that seemed like the sound of the breaking of a world.67 It was as if the world were under a bell jar, until great cumulus clouds brewed up out of the west, casting a gray shadow upon the earth.68 As he listened to the cries, a vision, swifter than lightning, flashed across his brain.69 Here was death, and with terror, yet it looked clean and bright, it was beautiful.70 Were it not for shadows, there would be no beauty.71 This thought enfolded his heart in cold tedium, his body in enfeebling languor.72 The first impression made on a young mind is hard to remove.73 Argument and explanation were useless.74 The standards of judgment were the world’s.75 “God knows,” exclaimed he at his wit’s end.76

“Moon Rising over Fog Clouds,” by Elliott Daingerfield. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of A.W. Bahr, 1958.

Now he was perfectly motionless, his face a staring mask.77 Came the yellow days of winter, filled with boredom.78 The year not in harmony with its months; the month not in harmony with its days.79 Cold; tempest; wild beasts in the forest.80 Office work: a wearisome jumble; ink drafts: a crosshatch of deletions and smears.81 One has to spend so many years in learning how to be happy.82 You can live a lifetime and at the end of it know more about other people than you know about yourself.83 My God, it is intolerable to think of spending one’s whole life like a neuter bee, working, working, and nothing after all.84 There were choices everywhere, but they were never choices that you could hope to make.85 Wrong life cannot be lived rightly.86 After a few days, he would say, “It seems to me a very long time since we have accomplished anything.”87 And he turned away and fell into thick darkness from which he could not raise himself up.88

A sickly light was creeping over the face of things.89 Once doubt starts, it runs rampant in our hearts like wildfire.90 There was no destination or purpose other than to wander.91 This is the only way in the world you can escape the things that made you.92 Walk west, into the desert.93

“Dress warm,” said the mother, who seemed to know.94 [She looks him right in the eye.]95 And the distant thunder seemed to be warning her that one day this world she knew and loved would be annihilated.96 A door shut somewhere.97 So much for human precautions.98 It would not be easy now for her to restore order to things.99 Men marched asleep.100 I hate men, she thought.101 She was already beginning to adopt some of the turns of phrase, the mannerisms, of the character she was to play.102 Exhaustion was pressing upon and overpowering her.103 As all things change to fire, and fire exhausted falls back into things.104

Then: “Here,” says her voice.105 You listen to us—and we’ll talk sense, not like you used to—listen to us and keep quiet, as we’ve had to do up to now, and we’ll clear up the mess you’ve made.106 In this business we are the sheep and you the wolves.107 You don’t want us to resist and defeat our enemies.108 Being a mensch is the main thing!109 What you risk reveals what you value.110 You will not be able to stay home, brother.111 Please all of you take trouble.112 She herself sighs and turns away.113

It is a plain statement of a contemporary state of affairs.114 The usual reaction is silence, at least for a time.115 People laud virtue but they hate and avoid it, for it freezes you to death, and in this world you have to keep your feet warm.116 All around the body reigns an atmosphere of certain uncertainty.117 The moon is shining through the soft haze with a brightness almost prophetic.118 Now these are matters that send intellects reeling just to hear about, and which weary tongues just to describe, much less to express judgment on.119

All at once the whole tree is trembling and there is no sign of the wind.120 A desert deserted, the official line.121


Perhaps that sounds needlessly metaphysical.122 Perhaps.123 I do not mean to tire you with such foolishness, which I only recount to give you a complete picture of my nature and because I think it will amuse you.124 I most emphatically, in this instance, made a fool of myself.125 But this disappointment was the least of my sorrow.126 My grief and rage threatened to get out of control.127 I saw all these things for myself and many others besides.128 Certain things I hold back on purpose, others I don’t know how to say.129 I tell myself: do not let it end this way.130

The next step on this path would be the question: What is the state of dwelling in our precarious age?131 Answer: My writing desk is full of live scorpions.132 I never know what to say.133 Things escape me, I can’t think properly, can’t grasp events, can’t realize the full horror of the situation.134 Is this the purpose of my creation, to lie here under the blankets and keep myself warm?135 Calm and knowing ways—these are not for me.136 What is good for a desperate headache?137 Do you smoke?138 I don’t think another drink would make me feel any better.139 Oh dear, what I have to suffer for my stomach’s sake.140 People go mad in idiosyncratic ways.141 Our tragedy is the senselessness of it all.142

“Mountainous Landscape in Italy: Il Resegone,” by Frank Randal, 1885. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Robert Lehman Collection, 1975.

And so, what will it take for us not to be what we are?143 Wise, spiritual beings—human beings—still exist.144 History is not kind to idlers.145 What is tilted is easily overturned; what is leaning is easy to push over.146 But then we too are nothing but wind.147 It is easier to break than to straighten anything which has hardened into a bad shape.148 Sometimes, on the very brink of certainty, I failed; yet still I clung to the hope which the next day or the next hour might realise.149

Much more am I pleading for the abolition of the word use, and for the freeing of the human spirit.150 The all is bigger than you.151 Here, perhaps, these yearnings for the ideal will meet their satisfaction.152 I liked the quality of the silence that fell, or rather rose—for silence rises, surely?—when I ceased speaking.153 At the beginning I had to strain my ears to catch it, but after a time it was inescapably easy to hear.154 You know that I am, so to speak, plunged into music—that I am occupied with it the whole day—that I like to speculate, to study, and to reflect.155 All I know about music is that not many people ever really hear it.156

As for the company of the left side, what is the company of the left?157 We learned slowly.158 If we exert ourselves, I think we shall not be long in want of allies.159 I, or rather it was “we” now, did not know exactly what New York expected of us and found it rather confusing.160 Every creature here seems to have a screw loose.161 Don’t talk to me about renting.162 The place makes everyone a gambler.163 Others, myself among them, have dreamed of dying and then moving to Oaxaca.164 But how could I ever know for certain that my reasoning was just?165 It is up to us to organize the people.166

We’re born without our being aware of it.167 The earth is round and you go all over it, but ultimately you come back to the same spot in the circle.168 Our present race of ephemeras will in the course of minutes become corrupt, like those of other and older bushes, and consequently as wretched.169 For a little period they manage to tolerate us, and then their hostility breaks out again and again.170 No one’s nerves could withstand it.171 To look these things squarely in the face would need the courage of a lion tamer, a robust philosophy, a reason rooted in the bowels of the earth.172

I surveyed the scene in a stupor.173 How could I know this lucid stream would turn, leading me into mountains?174 Everything seemed transformed, everything had come together; everything scattered and fragmented—home, peace, the journey, the rumble of wheels, thirst, terror, the city rising out of the mist, the wan red dawn—fused together, not into a memory or a picture but into the blind, fierce ache of life itself.175 Here human logic stops short, as before the revelations of the mysteries.176 We are a part of this and try to be all of it.177 Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon?178

Here is the anlage of the thing you fear.179 Every live thing is a survivor on a kind of extended emergency bivouac.180 But life is very short and anxious for those who forget the past, neglect the present, and fear the future.181 I am aware of what has happened, I am meeting it face to face, I am living through it.182 It’s as if I could predict the news.183

Misfortune is good for something.184 To be in this work.185 Buck up then.186


I looked up with a start and saw an extremely pretty cat.187 Nearly home, our wandering Jew?188

Myself: Eh?189

Henry muttered something and turned away.190

1 c. 1924: Berlin | Vladimir Nabokov, The Eye, from Death.
2 1995: Beijing | Rachel DeWoskin, Foreign Babes in Beijing, from Foreigners.
3 1937: Yaroslavl | Yevgenia Semyonova Ginzburg, Journey into the Whirlwind (trans. Paul Stevenson and Max Hayward), from Time.
4 c. 1883: Günsbach | Albert Schweitzer, Memoirs of Childhood and Youth (trans. Kurt and Alice R. Bergel), from Youth.
5 1832: Prairie du Chien | Black Hawk, a speech, from Swindle & Fraud.
6 c. 1865: Russia | Willa Cather, My Ántonia, from Animals.
7 1914: Paris | Henri Barbusse, “The Eleventh” (trans. Fitzwater Wray), from Philanthropy.
8 1903: Paris | Rainer Maria Rilke, “On Completing the Circle” (trans. Damion Searls), from The Future.
9 1842: Philadelphia | Edgar Allan Poe, “The Masque of the Red Death,” from Death.
10 1969: Spahn Ranch | Ed Sanders, The Family, from Family.
11 1841: Concord, MA | Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Self-Reliance,” from Philanthropy.
12 1931: Berlin | Bertolt Brecht, “Praise of Learning” (trans. H.R. Hays), from Ways of Learning.
13 c. 1220: Khwarezm | Ibn al-Athir, The Complete History (trans. D.S. Richards), from Disaster.
14 1956: Cambridge | Sylvia Plath, “Black Rook in Rainy Weather,” from Magic Shows.
15 1957: Paris | Albert Camus, “Reflections on the Guillotine” (trans. Justin O’Brien), from Death.
16 c. 1000: Kyoto | Sei Shōnagon, The Pillow Book (trans. Meredith McKinney), from Comedy.
17 c. 1925: Moscow | Mikhail Bulgakov, Heart of a Dog (trans. Mirra Ginsburg), from Animals.
18 c. 105: Rome | Juvenal, Satires (trans. Peter Green), from Comedy.
19 1540: Wittenberg | Martin Luther, “Admonition to the Vicars to Preach Against Usury” (as quoted in Karl Marx’s Capital, trans. Samuel Moore and Edward Aveling), from About Money.
20 1909: Atlantic Ocean | Mohandas K. Gandhi, Hind Swaraj, from The Future.
21 1925: Dayton, TN | H.L. Mencken, A Religious Orgy in Tennessee, from Religion.
22 1941: London | George Orwell, “The Lion and the Unicorn,” from Revolutions.
23 1876: St. Petersburg | Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Diary of a Writer (trans. Kenneth Lantz), from Communication.
24 1960: San Quentin | Elizabeth Hardwick, The Life and Death of Caryl Chessman, from Crimes and Punishments.
25 1972: Washington, DC | Richard Nixon, White House tapes, from States of War.
26 1961: Chicago | Jerome D. Frank, “Atomic Arms and Pre-Atomic Man,” from Fear.
27 c. 1830: Paris | Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa, La Bohème (trans. William Grist and Percy Pinkerton), from Arts and Letters.
28 1925: Paplona | Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises, from Sports and Games.
29 1792: Paris | Maximilien de Robespierre, “On the Trial of the King” (trans. John Howe), from Revolutions.
30 1842: Baltimore | Charles Dickens, a letter to William Macready, from Politics.
31 1978: Burlington, VT | Hayden Carruth, “Essay,” from Disaster.
32 1932: Crow Nation | Pretty-shield, her autobiography (as told to Frank Linderman), from Book of Nature.
33 48 BC: Pharsalus | Lucan, Pharsalia (trans. P.F. Widdows), from States of War.
34 1878: Rome | George Marsh, Man and Nature, from Book of Nature.
35 1776: New England | Abigail Adams, a letter to John Adams, from Revolutions.
36 63 BC: Rome | Sallust, The Conspiracy of Cataline (trans. S.A. Handford), from About Money.
37 c. 1525: Shangxi Province | Wang Jiusi, “Ballad of Selling a Child” (trans. Jonathan Chaves), from Youth.
38 c. 1935: Alabama | Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man, from About Money.
39 1974: New York City | Lewis Thomas, Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology, from Book of Nature.
40 1843: Wuxi | Yu Zhih, charter for the Infant Protection Society (trans. Clara Yu), from Youth.
41 c. 1330: Kyoto | Yoshida Kenkō, Essays in Idleness (trans. Donald Keene), from Crimes and Punishments.
42 1983: New York City | Gloria Steinem, “The Politics of Talking in Groups,” from Communication.
43 450 BC: China | Mozi, The Mozi (trans. Philip J. Ivanhoe), from Magic Shows.
44 1976: Paris | Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality (trans. Robert Hurley), from Eros.
45 1959: Vancouver | Eva Hoffman, Lost in Translation, from Communication.
46 1962: Maryland | Rachel Carson, Silent Spring, from Book of Nature.
47 1907: Tokyo | He-Yin Zhen, “Women’s Revenge" (trans. Peter Zarrow), from Fear.
48 c. 1608: Venice | William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, from About Money.
49 1660: Port-Royal des Champs | Blaise Pascal, “Discourses on the Condition of the Great” (trans. O.W. Wight), from Luck.
50 1986: Brigham City | Daniel Zwerdling, report on National Public Radio about the Challenger explosion, from Disaster.
51 1688: Osaka | Ihara Saikaku, “The Ten Virtues of Tea That All Disappeared at Once” (trans. Ivan Morris), from About Money.
52 1807: France | Napoleon Bonaparte, a letter to Joseph Fouché (trans. Mary Lloyd), from Spies.
53 1666: The Blazing World | Margaret Cavendish, The Blazing World from Discovery.
54 c. 1914: Ypres | Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Journey to the End of the Night (trans. Ralph Manheim), from States of War.
55 c. 1905: United States | James Weldon Johnson, The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man, from Religion.
56 1670: Paris | Molière, The Bourgeois Gentleman (trans. Philip Dwight Jones), from Music.
57 1947: Brooklyn | Anatole Broyard, Kafka Was the Rage, from Death.
58 c. 398: Hippo | Saint Augustine, Confessions (trans. Garry Wills), from Time.
59 1900: Albany | Theodore Roosevelt, “The American Boy,” from Youth.
60 1947: Washington, DC | Henry L. Stimson, “The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb,” from States of War.
61 1998: Uruguay | Eduardo Galeano, Soccer in Sun and Shadow (trans. Mark Fried), from Sports and Games.
62 1842: Russia | Nikolai Gogol, Dead Souls (trans. Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky), from About Money.
63 1967: New York City | Andy Warhol and Pat Hackett, POPism, from Swindle and Fraud.
64 1909: Vienna | Sigmund Freud, a letter to Carl Jung (trans. Richard and Clara Winston), from Magic Shows.
65 c. 18 BC: Rome | Horace, “Ars Poetica” (trans. David Ferry), from Arts and Letters.
66 1969: Mexico | Ryszard Kapuściński, The Soccer War (trans. William Brand), from Sports and Games.
67 1894: Japan | Lafcadio Hearn, Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan, from Magic Shows.
68 1995: Suffolk | W.G. Sebald, The Rings of Saturn (trans. Michael Hulse), from The Sea.
69 1907: Turkey | “The Boy Who Found Fear at Least” (collected by Ignácz Kúnos, adapted by Andrew Lang), from Fear.
70 1947: Carmel | Robinson Jeffers, “The Orca,” from Book of Nature.
71 1890: Tokyo | Junichiro Tanizaki, In Praise of Shadows (trans. Thomas J. Harper and Edward G. Seidensticker), from Flesh.
72 1907: Moscow | Maxim Gorky, The Spy: The Story of a Superfluous Man (trans. Thomas Seltzer), from Spies.
73 403: Bethlehem | Saint Jerome, a letter (trans. F.A. Wright), from Ways of Learning.
74 1924: Seattle | Mary McCarthy, Memories of a Catholic Girlhood, from Ways of Learning.
75 1912: New Haven | Owen Johnson, Stover at Yale, from Ways of Learning.
76 c. 1790: New York | Washington Irving, “Rip Van Winkle,” from The Future.
77 1946: Llasa | Heinrich Harrer, Seven Years in Tibet (trans. Richard Graves), from Magic Shows.
78 1933: Drohobycz | Bruno Schulz, The Street of Crocodiles, (trans. Celina Wieniewska), from Animals.
79 c. 350 BC: Magadha | Kautilya, Arthashastra (trans. Rudrapatna Shamasastry), from About Money.
80 1979: London | Angela Carter, “The Werewolf,” from Magic Shows.
81 216: China | Liu Jian, “Poem Without a Category” (trans. Burton Watson), from Lines of Work.
82 1844: Foleshill | George Eliot, a letter to Sara Hennell, from Youth.
83 1936: Atlantic Ocean | Beryl Markham, West with the Night, from Travel.
84 c. 1837: London | Charles Darwin, notebooks, from Family.
85 1968: Khe Sanh | Michael Herr, Dispatches, from Death.
86 1951: Frankfurt | Theodor Adorno, Minima Moralia: Reflections on a Damaged Life (trans. E.F.N. Jephcott), from Home.
87 c. 1923: Paris | Marie Curie, Pierre Currie and Autobiographical Notes (trans. Charlotte and Vernon Kellogg), from Lines of Work.
88 c. 1145: Bingen | Hildegard of Bingen, Scivias (trans. Mark Atherton), from Intoxication.
89 1906: San Francisco | Jack London, “The Story of an Eyewitness,” from Book of Nature.
90 c. 1976: China | Yiyun Li, “Immortality,” from Celebrity.
91 c. 1968: Mediterranean Sea | Lawrence Wright, Going Clear, from The Sea.
92 1955: Minnesota | Don DeLillo, Underworld, from Ways of Learning.
93 2013: Lampedusa | Mattathias Schwartz, “The Anchor,” from Foreigners.
94 1944: Pianosa | Joseph Heller, Catch-22, from Death.
95 1959: New York State | Ernest Lehman, North by Northwest, from Eros.
96 1939: Kansas City, MO | Evan S. Connell, Mrs. Bridge, from Disaster.
97 1982: Beaufort, SC | John Berendt, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, from Magic Shows.
98 64: Rome | Tacitus, Annals (trans. Michael Grant), from The City.
99 c. 1350: Skaun | Sigrid Undset, Kristin Lavransdatter (trans. Tiina Nunnally), from Home.
100 c. 1918: Flanders | Wilfred Owen, ”Dulce et Decorum Est,” from States of War.
101 1971: London | Iris Murdoch, An Accidental Man, from Luck.
102 1978: Ontario | Alice Munro, ”Simon‘s Luck,” from Luck.
103 c. 1895: Grand Isle, LA | Kate Chopin, The Awakening, from The Sea.
104 c. 500 BC: Ephesus | Heraclitus, fragments (trans. Brooks Haxton), from Book of Nature.
105 2013: Novilla | J.M Coetzee, The Childhood of Jesus, from Philanthropy.
106 411 BC: Athens | Aristophanes, Lysistrata (trans. Alan H. Sommerstein), from Politics.
107 1791: Birmingham | Joseph Priestley, an open letter to the townspeople, from Discovery.
108 1967: San Quentin, CA | George Jackson, Soledad Brother, from Family.
109 1916: Wronke | Rosa Luxemburg, a letter to Emanuel and Mathilde Wurm (trans. Stephen E. Bronner), from Revolutions.
110 c. 1810: Venice | Jeanette Winterson, The Passion, from Luck.
111 1970: New York City | Gil Scott-Heron, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” from Politics.
112 c. 1967: New York City | Diana Vreeland, memos to her staff at Vogue, from Fashion.
113 c. 586 BC: Jerusalem | Book of Jeremiah (trans. Rabbi Meir Zlotowitz), from The City.
114 1936: London | H.G Wells, “The Idea of a Permanent World Encyclopedia,” from Communication.
115 1952: Milledgeville, GA | Flannery O’Connor, “The King of the Birds,” from Animals.
116 c. 1772: Paris | Denis Diderot, Rameau’s Nephew (trans. L.W. Tancock), from Ways of Learning.
117 1952: Lyon | Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks (trans. Richard Philcox), from Flesh.
118 1862: Virginia | Clara Barton, a letter to Elvira Stone, from Death.
119 c. 930: Rayy | Abu Hatim al-Razi, The Proofs of Prophecy (trans. Everett K. Rowson), from Discovery.
120 1971: New York City | Charles Simic, “Fear,” from Fear.
121 c. 2030: San Bernardino County | Claire Vaye Watkins, Gold Fame Citrus, from Disaster.
122 1953: London | John Berger, “Drawing,” from Arts and Letters.
123 1969: Philadelphia | Loren Eiseley, The Unexpected Universe, from Discovery.
124 c. 1690: Mexico City | Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, “Response to Sor Filotea” (Pamela Kirk Rappaport), from Food.
125 1838: Springfield, IL | Abraham Lincoln, a letter to Mrs. O.H. Browning, from Comedy.
126 c. 1756: West Africa | Olaudah Equiano, Interesting Narrative, from Magic Shows.
127 c. 1892: Basel | Carl Gustav Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections (trans. Richard and Clara Winston), from Ways of Learning.
128 1542: Hispaniola | Bartolemé de las Casas, A Brief Account of the Destruction of the Indies (trans. Nigel Griffin), from States of War.
129 1960: San Quentin, CA | Eldridge Cleaver, Soul on Ice, from Ways of Learning.
130 2006: Queens, NY | Andre Agassi, Open, from Sports and Games.
131 1954: Freiburg | Martin Heidegger, “Building, Dwelling, Thinking” (trans. Albert Hofstadter), from Home.
132 1896: London | Lewis Carroll, Symbolic Logic: Part 1, Elementary, from Comedy.
133 1955: New York City | Marilyn Monroe, quoted in Truman Capote, “A Beautiful Child,” from Celebrity.
134 c. 1945: Bergen-Belsen | Hanna Lévy-Hass, Diary of Bergen-Belsen (trans. Sophie Hand), from Food.
135 c. 175: Dalmatia | Marcus Aurelius, Meditations (trans. Maxwell Staniforth), from Lines of Work.
136 c. 730: Nara | Ōtomo Tabito, a poem (trans. Geoffrey Bownas and Anthony Thwaite), from Intoxication.
137 1830: Eafield | Charles Lamb, a letter to James Vale Asbury, from Comedy.
138 1895: London | Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest, from Comedy.
139 1928: New York City | Dorothy Parker, “Just a Little One,” from Intoxication.
140 c. 205 BC: Rome | Plautus, The Swaggering Soldier (trans. E.F. Watling), from Comedy.
141 1995: Washington, DC | Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind, from Intoxication.
142 1939: Warsaw | Chaim Kaplan, The Scroll of Agony (trans. Abraham I. Katsh), from Disaster.
143 1838: Montevideo | Miguel Cané, “Fashions” (trans. Regina Root), from Fashion.
144 c. 1945: Moscow | Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago (trans. Thomas P. Whitney), from Crimes and Punishments.
145 1983: Washington, DC | U.S. Department of Education, A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform, from Ways of Learning.
146 c. 400 BC: China | Wenzi, The Wenzi (trans. Thomas Cleary), from Book of Nature.
147 1588: Aquitaine | Michel de Montaigne, “On Experience” (trans. M.A. Screech), from Food.
148 c. 90: Rome | Quintilian, Institutio Oratoria (trans. Donald A. Russell), from Ways of Learning.
149 1818: Ingolstadt | Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Frankenstein, from Book of Nature.
150 1939: Princeton, NJ | Abraham Flexner, “The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge,” from Discovery.
151 c. 1180 BC: Athens | Aeschylus, The Eumenides (trans. Richmond Lattimore), from Fear.
152 1853: Paris | Harriet Beecher Stowe, Sunny Memories of Foreign Lands, from Arts and Letters.
153 1979: London | John Banville, The Untouchable, from Spies.
154 1939: Barsham Habor, ME | William Sloane, The Edge of Running Water, from Fear.
155 1778: Paris | Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, a letter to his father (trans. Grace Jane Wallace), from About Money.
156 1957: New York City | James Baldwin, “Sonny’s Blues,” from Arts and Letters.
157 c. 620: Arabia | The Quran (trans. Thomas Cleary), from The Future.
158 1977: Bahía Blanca | Alicia Partnoy, The Little School (trans. Lois Athey and Sandra Braunstein), from Spies.
159 1815: Bath | Jane Austen, Emma, from Music.
160 c. 1936: New York City | F. Scott Fitzgerald, “My Lost City,” from The City.
161 1848: Edinburgh | Frédéric Chopin, a letter (trans. E.L. Voynich), from Arts and Letters.
162 c. 1935: Trinidad | V.S. Naipaul, A House for Mr. Biswas, from Home.
163 1973: Hollywood | Joan Didion, “In Hollywood,” from About Money.
164 1993: Oaxaca | Eliot Weinberger, “In the Zócalo,” from The City.
165 1890: Trieste | Italo Svevo, Zeno’s Conscience (trans. Beryl de Zoete), from Death.
166 c. 1945: China | Mao Zedong, Quotations from Chairman Mao Zedong (trans. unnamed), from Revolutions.
167 1526: Basel | Erasmus, Colloquia (trans. Craig R. Thompson), from Medicine.
168 1998: Bombay | Suketu Mehta, Maximum City, from Travel.
169 1778: Paris | Benjamin Franklin, a letter, from The Future.
170 1896: Paris | Theodor Herzl, The Jewish State (trans. Sylvie d’Avigdor and Jacob De Haas), from Religion.
171 1995: Portugal | José Saramago, Blindness (trans. Juan Sager), from Disaster.
172 1926: London | Virginia Woolf, “On Being Ill,” from Medicine.
173 c. 148 BC: Rome | Cicero, “The Dream of Scipio” (trans. Michael Grant), from Music.
174 c. 750: China | Wang Wei, a poem (trans. William Barnstone), from Religion.
175 1942: Auschwitz | Vassily Grossman, Life and Fate (trans. Robert Chandler), from Music.
176 c. 130: Rome | Marguerite Yourcenar, Hadrian’s Memoirs (trans. Grace Frick), from Flesh.
177 1756: Königsberg | Immanuel Kant, “On the Causes of Earthquakes on the Occasion of the Calamity that Befell the Western Countries of Europe Toward the End of Last Year” (trans. Olaf Reinhardt), from Disaster.
178 1882: Sils-Maria | Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science (trans. Walter Kaufmann), from Religion.
179 1939: Los Gatos, CA | John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath, from Revolutions.
180 1974: Tinker Creek | Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, from Book of Nature.
181 c. 49: Rome | Seneca the Younger, “On the Shortness of Life” (trans. C.D.N. Costa), from Time.
182 1915: Knoxville | James Agee, A Death in the Family, from Death.
183 2010: New York City | Alex Ross, “Listen to This,” from Music.
184 1889: St. Rémy-de-Provence | Vincent van Gogh, a letter to his brother (trans. Arnold Pomerans), from Arts and Letters.
185 c. 1900: New Haven | Muriel Rukeyser, “Gibbs,” from Discovery.
186 1790: Turin | Xavier de Maistre, Voyage Around My Room (trans. Stephen Sartarelli), from Travel.
187 c. 1020: Japan | Lady Sarashina, As I Crossed a Bridge of Dreams (trans. Ivan Morris), from Magic Shows.
188 1907: Madrid | Rubén Darío, “Wire Service” (trans. Greg Simon and Steven F. White), from Disaster.
189 c. 1943: Dublin | Flann O’Brien, his Irish Times column, Cruiskeen Lawn, from Communication.
190 1941: Lockport, NY | Joyce Carol Oates, Wonderland, from Flesh.